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TCRP Report 112/NCHRP: Compliance with Pedestrian Crosswalk Signs

The effectiveness of pedestrian crosswalk signs is the topic of a jointly sponsored research project conducted in the mid-2000s known as TCRP Report 112/NCHRP.  Participants in the study included the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) and the National Cooperative Highway Research program (NCHRP).  Support was provided by Texas A&M University.  The project was geared towards the following objectives:

  • Developing ways to protect pedestrians at unsignalized road crossings, especially in areas served by public transportation.
  • Evaluating the pedestrian signal guidelines laid out in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).

 

At the conclusion of the research, the participants recommended changes to the procedures endorsed by the MUTCD.  These recommendations can be found in Appendix B of the report.  They fall into three proposals, which can be summarized as follows:

  • Adding traffic-actuated signals to intersections where traffic levels meet the threshold criteria listed in the report.  Also, this proposal recommends prohibiting sight obstructions for a distance of 100 feet forward of and behind pedestrian-actuated crosswalk signals at non-intersection roadways.
  • Supplementing traffic control lights with caution flashers, longer stopping distances, additional lanes on minor-street approaches to intersections, in-street pedestrian crosswalk signs, traffic-calming devices, roundabouts, or other appropriate measures on an as-needed basis.
  • Adding pedestrian beacons to areas where traffic flow is insufficient to justify adding a stoplight, yet heavy enough to impede ready flow of foot traffic across the intersection.  The duration of the WALK signals is not prescribed in the report, but is instead left to the discretion of local traffic engineers.

 

Additional Content

The report also contains the finding of several studies done on how rapidly pedestrian walk when negotiating crosswalks.  This information can assist public safety officials in determining the optimum amounts of time to display WALK signals on pedestrian crosswalk signs at crossways.

 

NCUTCD Reaction to the Report

The National Council on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (NCUTCD) formally endorsed the contents of TCRP Report 112/NCHRP in June of 2006.  Implementing its recommendations thus carries the support of highway and public safety experts across the board, and this goal should be pursued as time and resources permit.